San Francisco Symphony Review - Symphony Pride In Honor Of Bay Area LGBTQ Community

Pride Logo Photo: SFS


On April 4, 2017 at 8:00 PM, held at Davies Symphony Hall, the San Francisco Symphony directed by Michael Tilson Thomas, with Broadway star Audra McDonald, through the unique Symphony Pride event, will embrace, support, and honor the LGBTQ Community. Tickets range from $25 to $50 dollars and are being sold online at

Showing support for Symphony Pride and Michael Tilson Thomas is Mayor Edwin M. Lee. Mayor Edwin M. Lee stated, “We commend Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony for taking a stand in support of the LQBTQ community. This great event reaffirms San Francisco’s commitment to equality for all, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Now, more than ever, San Francisco must exemplify what it means to be an inclusive city, devoted to protecting and advancing the rights of all who live here.”

Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) celebrated his 20th season as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) during the 2014-15 season. He began at SFS in September of 1995 and has been the longest-tenured music director at a major American Orchestra. Michael Tilson Thomas expressed that, “This special evening honors the essential contributions that LGBTQ composers have made in shaping the American musical sound. One of music’s greatest roles is to bring people together. I am proud to join with the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony and my dear friend Audra McDonald in presenting an evening that celebrates and honors the spirit of our community. This concert also offers me the opportunity to express my appreciation for the generous welcome extended to me and my husband Joshua Robison since our arrival here over 20 years ago.”

Micheal Tilson Thomas Photo: SFS

Audra McDonald is a veteran of Broadway and television; and has won six Tonys, two Grammys, and an Emmy award.  She is a passionate and outspoken advocate for equal rights and LGBTQ causes. Audra McDonald and Michael Tilson Thomas are friends and have been collaborating for over two decades.  Her first performance with Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra was in their 1998 Gershwin Centennial Celebration. This year's Symphony Pride event will mark Audra McDonald's eleventh performance with the San Francisco Symphony and Tilson Thomas.

The San Francisco Symphony has cancelled two planned performances in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on April 5th and 6th in response to the passing of that state's House Bill 2 (HB2), which is a law that overturned protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals earlier in the year. Executive Director Brent Assink stated that, "This decision is not a reflection of our regard for Carolina Performing Arts, which is a valued artistic partner but a response to the North Carolina state legislature's decision to enact HB2. We would have loved to perform at The University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill, a community that in many ways is consonant with our own San Francisco Bay Area ..."

Audra McDonald Photo: SFS

The majority of ticket proceeds from Symphony Pride will support organizations that help in providing services to the LGBTQ community including: Larkin Street Youth Services, Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, The Trevor Project, and The LGBT Center.  Through the efforts of these organizations many humans have embraced a community which has empowered each individual to understand their worth, their rights, and enable one to not feel alone or isolated.

Larkin Street Youth Services (LSYS) meets the unique needs of LGBTQ youth and has provided a safe place where youth are welcomed, celebrated, and encouraged to expand their own individual path.  LSYS has provided drop-in centers, shelters, education, and employment programs to specialized initiatives that have included: HIV prevention, testing, and housing that provides shelter for homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ for up to 24 hours.  Transgender Law Center is dedicated to changing law and policy so that all humans may embrace their Authentic Self free of discrimination regardless of gender identity.  The National Center for Lesbian Rights is committed to the growth of civil and human right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.

The Trevor Project is the only accredited national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning LGBTQ youth under the age of Twenty-Five. And The LGBT Center is the only organization working across the full spectrum of the LGBT community on a broad range of issues.  The Center provides direct services such as: An Economic Development program that helps lift community members out of poverty; the Violence Prevention Collaborative program helps make the community safer; Youth Services that help homeless clients get off the streets; and the Cultural program and art exhibits empowers the celebration of the rich history.

SF Symphony would like to thank their supporters for helping make this event possible: Mr. Alvin Baum and Mr. Robert Holgate, Nancy and Joachim Bechtle, Mr. & Mrs. Owsley Brown, Susie Tompkins Buell and Mark Buell, Jack Calhoun and Trent Norris, Mr. Duncan L. J. Clark, Matt and Pia Cohler, Jeffery Fraenkel and Alan Mark, Laurel and Vinod Gupta, James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, Mr. Thomas Horn, Mark Leno, Nellie and Max Levchin, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, Microsoft, Mark and Alison Pincus, Michael Tilson Thomas and Joshua Robison, The Bob A. Ross foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Orville H. Schell, Diane B. Wilsey, and Jed and Danielle York.  Wine for the event is provided by: Pine Ridge Vineyards and Seghesio Family Vineyards

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